A reading from the Book of Exodus
The Israelites were in abject slavery in Egypt, but the power of God freed them. Of course, they were grateful, but soon they were stuck in a barren desert and were starving. As bad as slavery in Egypt was, they at least had food, so they complained to Moses and Aaron, “But you had to lead us into the desert to make the whole community die of famine.” God responded to this complaint by sending the people food in the desert. We have no historical evidence about how that happened or what that food consisted of, but the point of the story is that God is the source if all life, including food.
Today, most of us are fortunate enough to be able to purchase our own food. Still, we need to remember that God is the ultimate source of our food and that we have an obligation to help those who are hungry in our community and beyond. It is not as though we have to do it by ourselves. There are several national and local anti-hunger organizations that do amazing work, including WhyHunger, a national organization that the late Harry Chapin (who died 40 years ago last month) and I co-founded in 1975. This and other organizations not only feed people but help them to get out of poverty which is the root cause of hunger.
“The Lord gave them bread from heaven.” When we participate in receiving the Eucharist we are indeed partaking of the bread of heaven. It is easy to forget that, but as we receive Communion, it is something to reflect on. Let the Eucharist nourish our spirits in hard times and in times of joy.